This year was challenging like no other, but advocates, teachers, students, staff, supporters, and volunteers across the CBF family accomplished a ton for the Bay. Check out our year-end highlights of oyster restoration, tree plantings, environmental justice wins, and more. Then dig into the stories of six awesome Bay-savers—a science teacher, an oyster ninja, a saltwater angler, a tree-hugger, a living room lobbyist, and a problem-solving Star Trek fan—who are working for clean and vibrant waterways in their communities. Their stories and more are included in our Fall/Winter issue of Save the Bay magazine. Best wishes for a safe and happy holiday season, and we’ll see you in 2021!
How did 2020 turn out for the Bay? Despite challenging circumstances, CBF’s restoration work continued. Thanks to your unyielding support, we planted trees, restored oyster reefs, improved farming practices, won legislative victories, helped communities clean up rivers and streams, and reached ever closer to our goal of a saved Chesapeake Bay.
Peru native Norka Ruiz Bravo is a self-described “science nerd” and problem-solver. As a volunteer at CBF’s Clagett Farm in Maryland, she’s testing out crops that might be tolerant of climate change and helping support CBF’s sustainable agriculture methods, Community Supported Agriculture program, and fresh produce donations to the Capital Area Food Bank.
High school science teacher Hemalatha Bhaskaran knows the value of mud-mucking. “My students smile and laugh, they run like crazy when I take them outdoors,” she says when reflecting on pre-pandemic days. By mentoring other teachers through CBF’s Teacher Environmental Literacy Leaders (TELL) network, she’s helping innovate ways to connect students with the environment despite this year’s challenges.
John Bello’s journey from angler to fishery management advocate began with a striped bass t-shirt at a boat show. This year, the Virginia Saltwater Sportfishing Association, a group he helped found alongside CBF and many other partners, celebrated big wins for menhaden management after more than two decades of grassroots advocacy efforts. Read his story, then take a look at our video to see why menhaden matter.
Professional oyster shucker Gardner Douglas’s skill with a Chesapeake stabber—and other oyster knives—has earned him the moniker “Oyster Ninja.” This year, when the pandemic shut down shucking competitions, he came up with a solution: a mobile raw bar, podcasts, and videos to bring oysters to the people.
Retired businessman Mike Taylor has traveled to Richmond and Washington, D.C. to advocate for the Chesapeake Bay, but this year he stayed closer to home. “I believe in acting locally and doing your little part,” Taylor says. He still made sure the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency heard his voice—all the way from his living room in Virginia Beach.
It was cold and pouring rain on Arbor Day 2020 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. But Anne Ely Wain and eight other volunteers with the Paxton Creek Watershed & Education Association (taking care to stay distant from one another) put 30 saplings in the ground—helping the Keystone 10 Million Trees Partnership push Pennsylvania closer to its clean water goals.
What You Can Do
- Learn the many ways you can advocate for the Bay and be prepared for upcoming legislative sessions.
- Still decorating for the holidays? Consider a real tree.
- CBF educators have brought the Bay virtually to more than 10,000 students this school year. Registeryour class for CBF’s Online Watershed Learning (OWL) courses!
- Help us continue to bring the Bay and its rivers to you at home each week. Donate today! Thanks to The Merrill Family Foundation, every gift through December 31 will be DOUBLED, up to $600K.